Crothersville improves skills at team volleyball camp


CROTHERSVILLE — Among the things Scott Sage likes about his Crothersville High School volleyball team is that the girls are working hard and improving.

Pancho Alvarez from the Munciana Volleyball Club conducted a volleyball camp Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the CHS gymnasium with 18 members of the high school and middle school volleyball teams working two two-and-a-half-hour sessions each day.

Alvarez is well known in high school and club volleyball as he is coach of Munciana’s U17 national team that played in the AAU National Tournament in Florida. He coached Cowan to a state championship and was an assistant coach at Wes-Del when that school won a state title.

“It’s always nice to have another voice, another coach’s perspective and another set of eyes. Maybe they see something that you don’t or maybe they have a better way of doing the same thing to improve,” Sage said. “We’re working really hard to improve, and we have lots of areas to improve on, and (Alvarez) is doing a great job. It’s also nice sometimes to reconfirm some of the things that you’re telling the kids, but they hear it from a different voice.”

Sage has worked with Alvarez in the past — twice at Jennings County and once at Hauser.

Sage said this is his 21st year of coaching a high school volleyball team. He said with this being his first year at Crothersville, he wanted to find someone who had high enthusiasm and energy to help with the camp.

“I couldn’t find a better coach than Pancho Alvarez,” Sage said. “We’re working on everything from ball control to serving, defense and offense. It breaks it down into very easy-to-understand basic fundamentals all the way up to extensive stuff. He’ll continue as a progression.”

By the end of the camp, the Tigers were able to put it all together on the court.

“We’ll continue to ramp up things, and by our last session on Wednesday, it will be more about team dynamic stuff where we’re six on the court and going through the footwork and the fundamentals that we’ve been working on throughout the last couple days,” Sage said.

Kinsey Martin, an incoming eighth-grader, said this will be her first year playing volleyball after playing softball in Seymour.

Kinsey has a sister, Railie Martin, who will be a freshman at CHS. Sage said four sets of sisters attended the camp.

“My mom wanted us to do another sport, so I picked volleyball,” Kinsey said. “My sister has been playing volleyball for many years. I worked a lot on my serving and playing in the back row. I’m not very good at it. In the past, I played volleyball with my family but not with an organized team. Mostly, sports are for having fun and doing stuff. I’m planning to play basketball.”

Allie Mendoza, an incoming freshman who played on the Crothersville middle school team last fall, also attended the camp.

“I’m working more on my passes and my serves,” she said. “I came to the camp for more experience and to get better at volleyball and hopefully get on the varsity team.”

She prefers the back row because she’s more of a defensive player.

“I enjoy the competition and how everybody is upbeat and they’re competitive and everybody knows they can get to the ball,” Mendoza said. “I think this year, we’ll be better because we’ve got better teammates and stuff.”

Sage said the Tigers are playing in a summer volleyball league at Hauser High School.

“We chose to play in the A (varsity) league,” Sage said. “We’re learning, we’re competing and we’re getting better.”

He said the Tigers will play in the league tournament at Hauser on July 11, scrimmage at South Ripley on July 18, participate in some open gyms in late July and begin high school practice Aug. 1.

“Keeping them active this summer has been really nice. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well we’ve taken steps forward. We still have a lot of opportunities to get better, and we are,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of success as far as victories at Hauser, but we’re competing against varsity-level teams. You can’t simulate that stuff in practice. I’m happy with our progress.”

Recent graduate Haley Williams will coach the seventh grade team and former high school varsity coach Carly Blevins will coach the eighth grade team at Crothersville this fall.

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